Maybe this is a peculiarly British perspective, but the new age of austerity will focus more attention than ever on social and cultural priorities. What counts as a luxury when times are prosperous but can be dispensed with when the going gets rough?
For all of us working in universities and particularly in the humanities (though not entirely—pure mathematicians face the same problem), the primary challenge of the next decade will be to explain why what we do is essential, not optional. We will need to put the case very clearly: A world in which no one has access to Homer or Dante in their original languages is a world that has lost more than the icing on the cake—but its very foundations. We will also need to explain that such studies can't simply be put on hold and picked up later when the money begins flowing again. By then, the tradition and the skills that uphold our knowledge will have died. (It would take a new Renaissance to get them back.)
But, obviously, there are related and even bigger cultural issues that must concern us over the next decade. Whose culture? And what culture? And how will (or should) cultural priorities evolve to reflect changes in the world political order? Ideas of "multiculturalism" have served us pretty well over the last few decades, as the friendly face of globalization. In the West, we have changed our view of what is culturally important. By and large the Dead White European Males have lost their exclusive right to be heard, and they now (relatively happily) share the microphone with a dazzling array of different traditions.
But where do we go from here? Can the multicultural melting pot just get more and more capacious? What judgments of quality (or, for that matter, morality) can be applied within it? When will the excited babble of cultural exchange turn into a mere Babel?
These questions too must be faced if we want to resist, effectively, the Forces of Darkness.